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theEweekly Wrap

theEweekly Wrap: 21 Nov

Google goes first on giant billboard

This week, Google broke a record of sorts. It has become the first company to rent the world's largest billboard, now in Times Square, New York.

At over 25,000 square feet the new screen covers almost as much space as 5000 42" LCD TVs.

A BBC report says the billboard cost over $2.5m (1.6m) to hire for four weeks, making it the most expensive billboard too.

Of course, the site of the billboard, Times Square, is one of the most famous advertising spots in the whole of the world: an estimated 300,000 people pass by the screens each day.

On Tuesday evening and in front of an excited crowd of tourists, officials turned the screen on. It will show digital art before Google's ads begin to run, after which the ads will continue until the beginning of January – when Google's contract runs out.


Facebook launches new groups app

Next up, Facebook has decided to launch a standalone app for groups, much like it already has for messaging on mobiles.

Unlike the messaging service however, Facebook won't be forcing any users to make the switch to the app, which is available to download in the app store.

The launch, and previous comments from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, indicate an underlying belief at Facebook HQ about the nature of how apps work.

Speaking to TechCrunch last year at Mobile Dev Day at Facebook headquarters, Zuckerberg said:

"In order to make these things really be able to reach their full potential, I do think over time we’re going to have to create more specific experiences."

If Facebook manages to get this offering right, it hopes it would create a popular third space to send messages from - a place between private messages and the news feed that allows particular groups share information - a place that is functional, and actually used.


Hotel fines couple for bad TripAdvisor review

And to wrap up this week, a couple say they have been fined £100 for writing a bad review about a hotel on website TripAdvisor.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson wrote the negative review after what they felt was a bad experience at the Broadway Hotel in Blackpool. Later they checked their statements to find that they had been charged £100. The hotel says this is its policy for guests who leave a "bad" review. Its policy says:

"For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."

But an investigation to find out if the practice is a breach of trading standards will soon take place. Councillor John McCreesh, cabinet member for trading standards, said:

"People should have the right to vent their disappointment if a hotel stay did not meet their expectations and should not be prevented from having their say."

No comments were made regarding who at the hotel spends their time trawling the internet for bad reviews, and their reasons for doing so remain a mystery.

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